Known for an extraordinary breadth of repertoire, Karabits and the BSO have performed cycles of Beethoven, Brahms and Prokofiev, given UK premieres of works from CPE Bach to contemporary music from Azerbaijan, and championed music from eastern Europe and Karabits’ native Ukraine through the ongoing series ‘Voices from the East’.

Karabits becomes Conductor Laureate, Artistic Director, Voices from the East from autumn 2024. He is the BSO’s second longest-serving chief conductor after its founder Sir Dan Godfrey.

In the Orchestra’s 2023/24 season, Karabits will unveil further symphonic treasures and lead the BSO as it returns to its long-term residency at the newly-transformed Bristol Beacon.



Kirill Karabits will conclude his tenure as Chief Conductor of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) in summer 2024. In a statement of the Orchestra’s ongoing commitment to championing the culture from Karabits’ homeland of the Ukraine and surrounding region, he will continue as Conductor Laureate, Artistic Director, Voices from the East.

The second longest-serving conductor in Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s history, Kirill Karabits concludes his 15-year tenure with the modern BSO shaped in his image: adventurous, authentic and committed to the music.

Together, Karabits and the BSO have shared an extraordinary range of repertoire, from rediscovered CPE Bach to new music from Azerbaijan and almost everything in between. Highlights have included focussed seasons of Beethoven, Brahms, Britten & Shostakovich, Elgar, Prokofiev and Walton — and with memorable collaborations including Sunwook Kim, Nicola Benedetti, James Ehnes, Catherine Foster, Steven Isserlis, and Robert Levin.

Under Karabits’ leadership, the Orchestra has: commissioned new music from a range of composers, including, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Anna Korsun, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Sir James MacMillan; presented acclaimed performances of Strauss’s Salome; and given numerous UK premieres, such as Penderecki’s Fourth Symphony and CPE Bach’s St John Passion (1784).

The ‘Voices from the East’ series of symphonic revelations from the Ukraine and beyond has come to define Karabits’ most recent years with the BSO.
Through performances — and a series of recordings for the Chandos record label — the Orchestra’s audiences have been introduced to music from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and the Ukraine, with composers Kara Karayev, Boris Lyatoshynsky, Chary Nurymov and Avet Terterian becoming familiar names. Last year, The Times declared that thanks to the series, “music lovers in Dorset may now be the most knowledgeable in the western world about the symphonic pieces of eastern Europe and central Asia.”

The Orchestra will record the music of Ukraine-born Fyodor Akimenko for Chandos as the series continues this spring. In addition to its several Voices from the East projects for Chandos, Karabits’ BSO recordings include releases on Decca, Onyx and Naxos — ranging from a complete Prokofiev symphonic cycle to concerto recordings with James Ehnes and Nicola Benedetti, and premiere recordings of Ivan Karabits, Valentin Silvestrov and Rodion Shchedrin.

Kirill Karabits — who was the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Conductor Award in 2013 — will be the Orchestra’s Chief Conductor until summer 2024. Over the course of his final season he will unveil further symphonic treasures and lead the BSO as it returns to its long-held residency at the newly-transformed Bristol Beacon. He begins his new position of Conductor Laureate, Artistic Director, Voices from the East, from autumn 2024.

Kirill Karabits, Chief Conductor of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, said: “I have never forgotten my first encounter with the BSO. I immediately felt this was a very special group of musicians, and, artistically, we have continued to grow together over the last fifteen years. It feels like a home from home — and never more so than during these last few years, where this community of musicians and audience has been of great support. The warmth, friendship and open-minded approach here is very special, and I am deeply proud to continue my journey as Conductor Laureate, Artistic Director, Voices from the East.”

Dougie Scarfe, Chief Executive of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, said: “Kirill is an outstanding conductor and musician, he is also a wonderful human and a musical detective unlike any other. His creative influence over the past fifteen years has defined the modern BSO — his understanding not just the music, but of that magical relationship between music, musicians and audience has created numerous life-affirming experiences for our musical community over the years. We are thrilled that Kirill will become Conductor Laureate, Artistic Director, Voices from the East, when his tenure as Chief Conductor concludes in summer 2024. I’m proud of all that we’ve achieved together, and we can’t wait to continue this musical journey of discovery with Kirill.”

Carol Paige, Musician Trustee and Principal Second Violin, said: “Working alongside Kirill has been a voyage of discovery! His musicality radiates from him when he’s on the podium, inspiring us all to play our hearts out in order to produce the most thrilling live performances, which I know have been enjoyed as much on the stage as off amongst our loyal audiences. Kirill commands such huge respect and admiration from the musicians, and we look forward to sharing more memorable moments with him.”

Over the coming months, the BSO and Karabits shine a spotlight on other Voices from the East, including composers Reinhold Glière, whose Horn Concerto receives a performance by Felix Klieser [11 Jan] before providing the focus for the season’s closing concert [10 May], and Anna Korsun, whose new commission, Terricone, receives its world premiere this week [11 Jan].

Further highlights include Shostakovich’s Symphony No.4 [8 Feb] and a celebration of Nordic music, featuring Nielsen’s mighty Fourth Symphony ‘The Inextinguishable’ [3 May].


Kirill Karabits becomes the BSO’s Conductor Laureate, Artistic Director, Voices from the East, from autumn 2024. Karabits conducts the world premiere of Anna Korsun’s Terricone — alongside works by Glière and Scriabin — on Wednesday 11 January [Poole]. For full details, see